March 2024 - Rights and Responsibilities

The Catholic faith calls us not only to believe, but also to act for a more just world. A core principle of Catholic Social Teaching is the intertwined nature of rights and responsibilities. Every person possesses inherent dignity because we are all created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This dignity translates into fundamental rights, including the right to life, food, shelter, and basic necessities for a dignified existence.

The Catechism reinforces this concept, stating that each person is uniquely valuable (Paragraph 1928). This compels us to respect and actively safeguard the rights of others. Fulfilling our responsibilities starts with respecting these rights. This involves both advocating for policies like healthcare access and fair wages, and taking personal action through volunteering, charity, or everyday compassion.

A thriving society requires a balance between individual rights and shared responsibilities. By cherishing each person's dignity and upholding their rights, we contribute to a more just and compassionate world, a world where, as Pope John XXIII stated in Pacem in Terris, "peace is not merely the absence of war; it is the active pursuit of justice."

Open your mouth in behalf of the mute, and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, judge justly, defend the needy and the poor!

Proverbs 31:8-9

Almighty God, source of all rights and responsibilities,

We come before You, mindful of the teachings of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who calls us to love our neighbor and work for a just and compassionate world.

  • Grant strength and resilience to those whose fundamental rights have been violated.
  • Guide those in need to resources like Catholic Charities for support.
  • Inspire us to fulfill our responsibilities with compassion, healing, and hope.
  • Grant Catholic Charities the wisdom to discern the needs of our community and the courage to act with generosity and service.
  • Open our hearts to be instruments of Your love.
  • Bless our efforts to build a community of respect and dignity, where individual rights and shared responsibilities create a society that reflects Your love and justice.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

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